Flying north for the winter?

Last week was an interesting one training wise. Esther arrived in Tallahassee on Saturday and ran the Tallahassee Marathon as an over-distance run on Sunday morning. She won in 2:46, which was a nice payday, however she ran 4 minutes faster than what the workout prescribed, so she was slightly nervous when relaying this information to her coach!

On Monday morning, Esther and I flew back to New Jersey for the week. This trip had been originally planned for after the USA Half because I was planning on taking a break.  However, Pete and decided I was still fresh enough for one more race and decided on the Husky Invite 5k in Seattle on February 14. So as I boarded the plane to a very snowy New Jersey I was quite nervous about where and how I was going to get in my key workout leading into the 5k. Spending most of the last month in Florida had spoiled me a bit as I now was having to deal with the logistics of inclement weather like so many runners across the country do each and every day. Yet another moment of feeling blessed to be a part of the Reebok/ZAP Fitness program.

Princeton indoor track
Princeton indoor track

Luckily, the assistant women’s coach at Princeton University allowed me access to their 200m flat indoor track for my Tuesday 5k specific session. You would think that having access to a nice indoor track would calm my nerves, but instead I began worrying about the workout itself! I am quite strong aerobically due to lots of miles and threshold work but the idea of having to dip down into some faster 5k stuff scared me a bit as it is not something my training has called for in a quite a while. As so often happens, my worries were unfounded and the workout went well. I opened with a quick mile in 4:19.1 then had 4-5 minutes of rest before a set of 7 Canova k’s. The idea of the repeats is to alternate between slightly above threshold on k’s 1, 3, 5, and 7, and slightly below threshold on k’s 2, 4, and 6. The goal was to run around 3 flat for the ‘off’ paced kilometers and to run around 2:50 for the ‘on’ kilometers (all with 80-90 seconds rest). Also, to avoid turning so much I did the 7xk segment of the workout in lane 4 which required me use my brain a bit and count back to where I would finish each rep. Thankfully, Esther was overseeing the session and did the math for me! I ran the ‘off’ k’s around 2:55 while the ‘on’ k’s were run around 2:47. It all felt very smooth and I was happy with how my effort was corresponding to the splits I was seeing on my watch; always a good combination during a workout. I was supposed to finish with 4×400 around goal race pace but when I switched out of my flats into my spikes I realized I had several nasty blisters that had formed during the workout so I did 2×400 and called it a day.

Also, it should be noted that being on the Princeton track with their record board looming above undoubtedly inspired my performance, as my current ZAP teammate Joe Stilin (plug: is the 1500m and 5000m school record holder in 3:39 and 13:38 respectively.

Stalin reppin' that 15 hundo.
Stalin reppin’ that 15 hundo and keepin’ it 5000.

On Friday, I did a moderate progression run finishing the last few miles around 5:25 pace. My legs were a bit heavier than I expected but that was almost certainly due to the harder session on Tuesday. And despite the fact that New Jersey was hit with almost a foot of snow before I arrived, the roads were cleaned quickly and I only had to do one run on the treadmill the entire week. Alas, my worrying accomplished nothing. I think there is a lesson here about not trying to control the things you have no control over…but then again, probably not.

Now it is time to rest up and get ready for a quality 5k at the always fast Dempsey indoor facility. Thanks for reading!

Here is my last week of training (2/2-2/8)

Sunday: AM: 17 miles w/1 min surges last 80 min (6×20 sec strides post run)

Monday: AM: 9 miles (travel day)

Tuesday: AM: 13 (track session, see above)     PM: 5 miles

Wednesday: AM: 8 miles     PM: 7 miles

Thursday: AM: 13 miles (7×200 post run)

Friday: AM: 6 miles      PM: 10 (moderate progression run 5:55-5:25)

Saturday: AM: 9 miles

Total: 97 miles, 10 runs


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